Tower rains paint chips

Paint chips falling from a water tower in Folly Beach raised concerns about possible environmental hazards. DHEC determined the paint presents no hazard.

Chipped paint falling from a water tower in Folly Beach has one man concerned about the health and environmental well-being of those underneath.

The water tower, located off East Erie Avenue, was in the process of being painted this week when a bout of rain prevented it from drying properly. That made the paint chip, wind blew particles of chipped paint onto surrounding properties, including Glenn Fleming's directly across the street.

"I'm getting littered with paint chips. It's all over my yard and my house, and there's a playground adjacent to it where kids play every day," Fleming said. "This stuff is probably all over the island."

Fleming said he put in calls to the city, worried about the paint's toxicology and long-term health and environmental effects.

Folly Beach building official Eric Lutz said the city responded immediately, halting the work until the issue could be evaluated.

Lutz said the painters lost about a day as the chips were tested for lead and the city's contract with the company performing the job, Southern Corrosion, was examined. Lutz said the contract was not in violation.

Southern Corrosion manager Ed Soltis said the paint, DTM Acrylic Coating sold by Sherwin Williams, isn't much different from house paint.

"There's really no hazard to it at all," Soltis said.

Michael Riffert of Construction Consultants said he was working on a neighboring house when Fleming raised his safety concerns.

"Actually they used one of the most environmentally friendly paints, but unfortunately it rained and it chipped away," Riffert said.

DHEC representatives also examined the safety information for the paint. Spokesman Adam Myrick said DHEC found the paint to be biodegradable and water soluble, and that it presents no hazard.

Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908.